However, his own past is darker than his fans might realize.
"I remember just lots of turmoil from that time period,” he said. “I was having a lot of troubles with cocaine...I was hanging out with some pretty rough characters. I was scared to go to school [because] one of them wanted to kill me. I wanted to get out of there.”
Black, 46, said that as a result, his parents enrolled him in a new school that specifically dealt with "troubled youth." While most of the students were there because they'd been expelled from their previous schools, he wanted to be there "to press the restart button."
“I spilled my guts [to a school therapist] telling him I felt guilty about stealing from my mom to get money for cocaine. I cried like a baby. It was a huge release and a huge relief," he said. "I left feeling euphoric, like an enormous weight had been lifted from me. It changed me.”
“He was a big influence on me. He took me to my first rock concert. I was 11; he was 23. He was so vibrant, creative, amazing. He shaped my taste in music," Black said. "[Death] didn’t happen quickly. We all saw the deterioration. He was only 31. So very young. We were robbed of something precious. It was devastating. It was hard for all of us, but it was hardest for my mom when we lost Howard. She’s never really recovered."
The experience also made the "Goosebumps" star "a bit of a helicopter dad" to his two sons with his wife Tanya Haden. These days, his life completely revolves around family.
"I’m happiest just swimming with my boys in the ocean," he said.